Archive for the ‘Real Estate’ Category

Answers to common questions about Escrow

Saturday, February 14th, 2015

Patrick McCarran Answers to common questions about EscrowBy Patrick McCarran, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices

An offer has been accepted and a closing date has been set. Now the home is about to go through escrow. But what does that really mean? The following are answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about escrow and the escrow process.

What is escrow?

Escrow is a process that begins when the offer papers are signed by both parties and ends when the loan is approved and both the buyer and seller have fulfilled all the necessary requirements. For instance the escrow company will obtain instructions from all parties such as the lender, the seller and the buyer. Once these instructions have been met or completed then the escrow company will redistributed to the involved parties such as the buyer will receive title or ownership of the property, the seller will receive funds, the sellers lender with be paid off and the buyers lender will receive loan documents that the buyer has agreed to repay.

What is an escrow holder?

The escrow holder is a neutral third party agent of the principals—buyer, seller, lender, and borrower—which facilitates the transfer of ownership by ensuring that the terms of the transaction are completed. This includes safeguarding all funds (including the buyer’s deposit) and documents. Once all the details have been settled, the escrow holder disburses the funds and documents to the appropriate parties.

What does the escrow have to do with items that must be done to the property before it is sold?

Escrow is also a process. The escrow company keeps track of various terms and conditions throughout the term of the contract and acts as an enforcer for both sides insuring that contract terms are honored. The escrow holder keeps track of obligations of the seller or buyer. For example, if the seller is required to supply a termite inspection, the escrow holder would make sure it is fulfilled before any funds are transferred to the seller. Findings in the termite inspection report must be corrected on or before the close of escrow.

How does the escrow company interact with the title company?

The escrow holder receives a complete ownership history of the property and any liens on record in the preliminary title report. Anything that is out of the ordinary, such as condo liens, judgments, etc., against the buyer and seller must be clarified prior to close of escrow.

Why does the escrow process take so long?

The escrow process can be any number of days depending on what is agreed upon between the buyer and the seller. To assure a timely closing, you can check with the escrow holder on specific items that will help move the process along. For example, the buyer should do things like inform the escrow holder of the name and phone number of his or her insurance agent as soon as possible. The homeowners insurance policy needs to be ordered early, so verification can be made with the lender. The lender will not fund a new loan without a homeowners policy. If there is a delay, the escrow process may be delayed. It also helps to make sure that the funds provided are “good” because the escrow will only close on cleared funds. You want to consider a more secure form of payment, rather than a personal check, which can take up to a week to process.

What happens with the check I give to the escrow company?

Most buyers think that their check will not be cashed until the close of escrow, but that is not the case. The check is cashed by the escrow company immediately, and held in a trust account. If anything out of the ordinary is to be done at the close of escrow with the seller’s proceeds, the escrow holder must be notified. A signed amendment is required for wiring funds or splitting proceeds.

If you have questions about the escrow process, confer with your real estate professionals who can help provide you with more detail with this or any other home buying or selling subject..

Patrick McCarran is a local Realtor and can be reached at (925) 899-5536, pmccarran@yahoo.com or www.CallPatrick.com.

© 2015 Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Drysdale Properties an independently owned and operated franchiseeof BHH Affiliates, LLC. Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices and the Berkshire HathawayHomeServices symbol are registered service marks of HomeServices of America, Inc.®Equal Housing Opportunity. Information not verified or guaranteed. If your home is currently listed with a Broker, this is not intended as a solicitation

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Office Space Available in Antioch

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

5109 Lone Tree Way Suite A

Approximately 1650-1690 SQ FT

Four Private offices\Rooms

Lobby with 6-8 L-shaped Desks

Kitchen room

Ladies and Men restrooms

Contact: Najib Zafari

Phone: (925) 209-7685

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Real Estate Answers: The time to short sale is now

Wednesday, March 27th, 2013

Real Estate Answers 300x160 Real Estate Answers: The time to short sale is nowBy Patrick McCarran, Prudential California Realty

The mortgage and debt reduction act has been extended but only through the end of the year. This means you have to close by December 31, 2013. This is important because without it you may be liable for income tax on the forgiven debt whether you short sale or later go into foreclosure. If you are struggling to make ends meet and have negative equity in your home a short sale can help you get a fresh start. Get out from the burden of a cumbersome mortgage payment and toxic asset with negative value. Start fresh and in as little as three years buy a new home with a manageable payment and start re-build equity and wealth.

What about a modification? Most lenders are now offering modifications to homeowners in distress. These are often more of a temporary solution as the banks seldom offer principal reductions. Usually the bank will offer to lower you payment over a fixed period of time. The problem with these terms is that without a principle reduction you are not building equity. In today’s market where a homes value may be upside down or have a negative equity, projections show it would take years just to break even on the balance of the loan. This makes your situation like a long term lease.

Foreclosure or simply walking away from the home is another option. California is a non-recourse state and has what is called a one action rule which basically states that if your homes is foreclosed and sold by the trustee that is the only recourse for the lender. Which means, generally speaking you can walk away with little or no legal consequence.

However if you have a second loan it could very well be a recourse loan which means the lender can, and most likely will pursue other assets and wages. A short sale will prevent this. If you are considering a default I highly suggest you look into a short sale an option. Choosing a short sale will put you back in control of your life and when you need to move. Because a short sale is perceived as a proactive choice by the borrower the credit compiling agencies tend to score it higher than a foreclosure or a deed-in-lieu.

I would always advise my clients to seek advice from an attorney under bankruptcy protection a well. Many homeowners have incurred a substantial amount of debt in this economy and a bankruptcy may be a good option to help you afford to keep your home by eliminating burdensome debt. Although legally you may not need to pursue a short sale after the bankruptcy, in regard to credit building it is still a good option.

Let me be clear, I am not advocating to anyone to ignore their financial obligations. What I am saying is that you should look at your own situation and make the decision that is best for YOU and your family and not the bank.

Take control of your situation and call an experienced Short Sale agent today to discuss and compare your options.

Patrick McCarran is a local Realtor and can be reached at (925) 899-5536 or www.Callpatrick.com. Prudential California Realty is an independently owned and operated member of The Prudential Real Estate Affiliates, Inc., a Prudential company. Equal Housing Opportunity.

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Real Estate Answers: It’s a Sellers Market and a Great Time to Sell

Monday, January 14th, 2013

Real Estate Answers 300x160 Real Estate Answers: Its a Sellers Market and a Great Time to SellBy Patrick McCarran, Prudential California Realty

Inventory is at an all time low. I can almost count the available homes on one hand. With values on the rise it may be an excellent time to put your house on the market and make that move you have been delaying. There are several contributing factors that account for the current lack of inventory. The primary reason is that a major source of homes has been through the banks either as foreclosures or investor flips. This past year the banks have significantly lowered the number of homes making it on the open market largely due to an increase in modifications as well as an increase in the willingness to approve short sales.

While inventory has been scarce buyers have not. East Contra Costa is as most of us here realize an attractive area. It is centrally located to the North Bay as well as the South Bay and also the Sacramento area and the Central Valley. This makes it desirable to a number of different types of buyers and demographics. The market has seen a steady flow of investors continuing to buy homes, often multiple purchases, In addition there has been a great deal of second home buyers, individuals wishing to plan for an eventual move at retirement or a future career change. First time home buyers who for the last few years have been largely on the sidelines are also steadily increasing.

A major contributing factor to the current market is the fact that money is cheap. With interest rates at historic lows return on investment is at historic highs through monthly return as well as future appreciation, from an owner occupied point of view it is often significantly cheaper to own than to rent.

What does the future hold? That is the million dollar question. In my opinion interest rates will definitely rise and this will slow the market, I do not believe we will see a crash or deflation but a nature slow down. The uncertainty of the future is what makes today the right time to sell whether you are upside down or have equity.

If you would kike a current market analysis of your home or need any information concerning real estate do not hesitate to call or contact me directly.

Patrick McCarran is a local Realtor and can be reached at (925) 899-5536 or www.CALLPATRICK.com. Prudential California Realty is an independently owned and operated member of The Prudential Real Estate Affiliates, Inc., a Prudential company. Equal Housing Opportunity.

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Tired of Bidding Wars and Multiple Offers? Try a New Home

Saturday, December 1st, 2012

Real Estate Answers 300x160 Tired of Bidding Wars and Multiple Offers? Try a New HomeBy Patrick McCarran, Prudential California Realty

With new home construction going strong again, you can avoid the bidding wars in the resale market. Although you may not think it is necessary to involve a real estate professional in a transaction where a buyer can deal directly with a builder. Think again!

The builder’s agent is representing the builder’s best interest. As your buyer’s agent a Realtor can guide you along the right path, smooth the rough places and help ensure you make a decision you can live with (and in) for many years. As your agent, the Realtor is representing your best interests.

Just as a real estate professional calls on experience and knowledge of an area to help buyers locate re-sale homes in a community, the same applies to guiding buyers interested in newly built homes to developments and communities that match their wants and needs. Your agent can suggest builders based on their reputation for delivering a high-quality product, responding quickly to issues, and being financially sound. Your agent may be familiar with how a builder prices his products and where there may be room to negotiate price or upgrades.

Your agent can assist you as you face hundreds of design choices and consider which upgrades provide the best value in terms of resale and whether to upgrade from an outside vendor. The upgrades, or options available, will vary from builder to builder and the choices you make will depend on personal decisions. Often a buyer can pay far less after the home is built by contracting with a third party but price is not always the only consideration you need to consider the convenience, cosmetic ramifications and if it is even feasible to perform after the home is built.

REMEMBER the builder will require your agent to accompany you on your first visit to the site. So let them shop with you, it is not an inconvenience to them it is there job.

By now, you should be convinced of a real estate professional’s value as you search for and purchase a newly built home. Still, here’s one more great reason to work with an agent—the builder pays the agent’s commission. You enjoy individual attention and support at NO cost to you. What a great way to start life in a new home!

Patrick McCarran can be reached at (899) 899-5536. www.PatrickMcCarran.com. Prudential California Realty is an independently owned and operated member of The Prudential Real Estate Affiliates, Inc. The Prudential Real Estate Affiliates, Inc. is a Prudential company. Equal Housing Opportunity.

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Real Estate Column: Questions about foreclosure?

Tuesday, October 9th, 2012

Real Estate Answers 300x160 Real Estate Column: Questions about foreclosure?Is your house underwater? Are you in pre-foreclosure? Do you have a NOD or notice of default filed? Is the notice that came form the bank an actual notice of default or just a warning? These are some of the many questions that you may have. If you are felling overwhelmed ask for help. Open those notices ignoring them will not make them go away. Call the help lines that come with your notices, they can help. Call us it’s what we are here for we can help.

What kind of modification can I expect?

Many more lenders are now offering modifications to homeowners in distress. Usually the bank will offer to lower you payment by temporarily lowering your interest rate and extending the loan period to 40 years. These are often more of a temporary solution as the banks seldom offer principal reductions and therefore you still have little promise of future equity. Depending on your goals and situation this may be a good option for you. Need help? Go to www.NACA.com or call 888-302-6222.

What is a “Short Sale”?

A short sale is when the borrower/owner sells a property to a third party during a pre-foreclosure process. It is called a short sale because the owner will sell the property “short” of the balance owed to the lender or the bank.

Can the bank come after my other assets or attach my wages?

California law or SB 458 ensures that once a lender has agreed to accept a short sale payment on a property, all lien holders — those in first position and in junior positions — will consider the outstanding balance as paid in full and the homeowner will not be held responsible for any additional payments on the property. www.car.org/newsstand/newsreleases/2011newsreleases/sb458/

What about income tax and the IRS?

Act now! If you are a homeowner whose mortgage debt is partly or entirely forgiven during tax years 2007 through 2012, you may be able to claim special tax relief and exclude the debt forgiven from your income. There is no guaranty that this will be extended. For more info visit: www.irs.gov/individuals/article/0,,id=179414,00.html

What about scams?

Be cautious of scams. Never pay an upfront fee these are illegal. Do not sign your deed over to anyone or make a payment to anyone other than your mortgage servicer without seeking your servicer’s approval directly.

If you have tried to modify your loan and have been unsuccessful and are thinking of walking away from your house, it’s time to get the facts, we may be able to help you. Even if you have stopped making mortgage payments and have gotten a notice of default, it is not too late. We can give you a comparison

on your options to a Foreclosure. Get an action plan.

Loan modification, Short Sale or Strategic Default Which one is right for you?

Call today and speak with an experienced Short Sale agent to discuss and compare your options. Take control of your situation and start the New Year fresh. Remember to always seek legal and tax advice before making any decisions and if you have any questions or need more information please call, and let me help you make the decision that is best for YOU and your family and not the bank.

Patrick McCarran can be reached at (899) 899-5536. www.PatrickMcCarran.com. Prudential California Realty is an independently owned and operated member of The Prudential Real Estate Affiliates, Inc. The Prudential Real Estate Affiliates, Inc. is a Prudential company. Equal Housing Opportunity.


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Give Your Home a Tune Up Before Putting it on the Market

Saturday, August 18th, 2012

Real Estate Answers 300x160 Give Your Home a Tune Up Before Putting it on the MarketHome sellers with equity have one goal—to sell their home as quickly as possible for the highest market price. Most of the homebuyers in today’s’ market are looking for properties that don’t require a lot of work or “turn key”. Homeowners that are proactive and make needed repairs before putting their homes on the market help fill this demand. A home in move-in condition is almost always the most desirable and will command top dollar and multiple offers.

To accomplish this inspect both inside and outside the home. Take inventory of practical and aesthetic repairs. You may want to apply a fresh coat of paint on the walls, doors, and trim. Clean the carpet and buff and polish wooden floors. Power wash the sidewalks and driveways, and clean any stains on them. Clean or re-grout kitchen and bathrooms. Repair dripping faucets and drains or plumbing fixtures that aren’t operating. Take a look at the light fixtures, the bathroom and kitchen faucets. This is a great opportunity to update with minimal cost and excellent return. Replace burned-out bulbs and broken electrical sockets. Replace cracked windows and torn screens. Repair broken fencing and put a fresh coat of stain on the fences and the deck.

I recommend hiring a professional home inspector to thoroughly and impartially evaluate the property. A standard report will review the condition of the home’s heating system, central air conditioning, plumbing and electrical systems, the roof, attic, walls, ceilings, floors, windows and doors, the foundation, and visible structure.

By obtaining the pre-inspection it avoids any surprises and allows you to review and prioritize the list of repairs. Many major remodeling projects will only return pennies on the dollar. Let your budget and your real estate professional guide you.

In addition to repairs or deferred maintenance, staging is an excellent way of showcasing the positive attributes of your home to maximize return. In order to accomplish this you need to de-personalize the home. This does NOT mean taking down and hiding every personal picture but it does mean to minimize. Start packing that rare clown collection or the special teddy bear room. What may be “charming” to the seller may seem off-putting to a prospective buyer. The basics of staging are neutral but not plain, declutter less is definitely more, let the light in, and remember to review all the rooms.

A home in good condition demonstrates pride of ownership. Taking the time to give your home a tune up will go a long way in making sure that your home is presented to potential buyers in its best possible light and will make the sale. Feel free to contact me for a free consultation and action plan.

Patrick McCarran can be reached at www.PatrickMcCarran.com or (925) 899-5536. Prudential California Realty is an independently owned and operated member of The Prudential Real Estate Affiliates, Inc. The Prudential Real Estate Affiliates, Inc. is a Prudential company. Equal Housing Opportunity.

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Multiple Offers Are Here – Real Estate Answers

Thursday, July 12th, 2012

Real Estate Answers Multiple Offers Are Here   Real Estate Answers

Since around the February 2012 thaw, buyers’ confidence appears to have increased and the housing market has been heating up. This coupled with very low inventory of homes for sale has produced a hot market for sellers. Listings that are priced reasonably and are in relative good condition are seeing multiple offers. Homes that are turn key such as investor flips or equity sales have had over 60 offers.

So what is a buyer to do? It has been my experience that when it is meant to be it will happen, However it is important that when opportunity knocks you are ready to open the door. Start shopping for a home now search the internet work with a agent to start touring homes so you become familiar with the market and are prepared to offer market value , or slightly higher , when the right home for you comes on the market. I highly recommend working with a buyer’s agent to fully represent your best interests.

My advice on value is to not get too focused on the listing price. Unlike a retail store the asking price is not always representative of the value of the home or even what price the owner is necessarily looking for. This may apply to bank owned, short sale and even investor flips which may be under priced possibly to garner multiple offers and drive the price up through a “bidding war”. However they can also be overpriced for a variety of reasons. I have also seen the use of marketing auctions on occasion whereby the home is listed at very low starting price to generate interest however they traditionally have a reserve price which is secret minimum price that needs to be met by the bidders before the seller is obligated to accept an offer. This reserve price is usually at or above fair market value.

So what is a buyer to do? First of all do not give up hope, next keep watch and when a home that fits your needs becomes available jump on it! Make an offer based on the value of the home to you. Focus on your needs and remember prices are at historic lows so the potential for equity in the long run is great. If you look at a few thousand dollars difference over 30 years it may put it in perspective. Keep your offer clean, consider making the offer “as-is”, this does not mean you waive your rights of inspections it simply represents that you do not expect the seller to perform any repairs which make your offer more desirable that one that may ask for repairs. In my experience when it is meant to be it will happen.

Call a today to get started. As always feel free to contact me for more information.

Patrick McCarran can be reached at (899) 899-5536 or www.PatrickMcCarran.com. Prudential California Realty is an independently owned and operated member of The Prudential Real Estate Affiliates, Inc. The Prudential Real Estate Affiliates, Inc. is a Prudential company. Equal Housing Opportunity.

pportunity.

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